Israel suspends flights to Antalya over CIA notice
Israel has suspended its flights to Antalya over a coded message sent to Israeli and Turkish officials by the CIA about preparations by an al-Qaeda terrorist in Turkey to launch a bloody attack against Israeli passengers.
06 February 2009, Friday
The CIA sent the coded message to Israeli and Turkish officials around three weeks ago, warning them about preparations by an al-Qaeda member to carry out a deadly attack against Israeli passengers at Turkish airports. The message stated that the terrorist infiltrated Turkey from a Middle Eastern country with the objective of retaliating against Israel's recent assault on the Gaza Strip. The terrorist was to launch the attack at the İstanbul Atatürk Airport, the Adnan Menderes Airport in İzmir or the Antalya Airport, according to the message, which also notes that the terrorist is using a fake passport.
Upon receiving the CIA message, Israel decided to halt its flights to Antalya. Sources said Israel's decision to suspend flights to Turkey's southern city had nothing to do with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's strong reaction to Israeli violence against Gazans. Erdoğan reacted harshly to the offensive on various occasions and called on Israel to declare a cease-fire.
A leading Israeli daily reported on Wednesday that security officials have instructed Israeli airlines not to fly to the Turkish resort city of Antalya because local authorities were no longer allowing armed Israeli security personnel to arrive at the airport.
The airlines were instructed to halt all services to Antalya until the matter is sorted out, a report by the Israeli daily Haaretz said, while noting that Israeli charter airlines had already reduced the number of flights to Antalya as a result of the worsening financial crisis and the Turkish government's strong disapproval of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip.
In the meantime, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and police departments nationwide were ordered to step up security against the prospect of a terrorist attack in the country. Airports in three Turkish cities have tightened security measures. (Source)